Butter Chess Pie Recipe

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Lori Dunn
Chess pie, a cousin to vinegar pie, contains cornmeal or flour in the filling.


  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 5 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1-9-inch pastry shell, unbaked 


  • Heat oven to 350°F.
  • In large bowl, combine sugar and flour; stir in eggs and buttermilk until blended. Add butter and vanilla.
  • Pour filling into pastry shell and bake for 45 minutes, or until set. Check for doneness after the minimum baking time by gently shaking the pie. The center should be set with a slight jiggle.
  • Cool on wire rack.

Chess pie is a Southern treat similar to vinegar pie; it includes eggs, sugar, butter and a small amount of flour or cornmeal. Various flavorings can be added, such as vanilla, lemon juice, vinegar or chocolate, to make a unique treat. Try this Furr’s Cafeteria Butter Chess Pie recipe.

The origin of the name is unknown. Many linguists believe the word “chess” is an Americanization of the English word “cheese,” which refers to a lemon curd pie. Thus, a chess pie would be a cheese-less cheesecake. Another explanation is that the Southern drawl changed “chest” to “chess,” when referring to a pie with so much sugar that it could be stored in a pie chest instead of a refrigerator.

Clara Engle, Poteau, Oklahoma, knew just the recipe, finding it online. She writes, “I baked it as directed the first time, but it was too much filling for one pie shell. So I used two pie shells the next time, and it was perfect!”

Main Article:
Recipe Box: July/August 2011 – Homemade Pie Recipes